Anticipatory grief is the normal mourning that occurs when a patient or family is expecting a death. It has many of the same symptoms as those experienced after a death has occurred
Anticipatory grief includes depression, extreme concern for the dying person, preparing for the death, and adjusting to changes caused by the death.
Anticipatory grief gives the family more time to slowly get used to the reality of the loss. People are able to complete unfinished business with the dying person (for example, saying “good-bye,” “I love you,” or “I forgive you”).
Anticipatory grief may not always occur. Anticipatory grief does not mean that before the death, a person feels the same kind of grief as the grief felt after a death. There’s no set amount of grief that a person will feel. The grief experienced before a death does not make the grief after the death last a shorter amount of time.
To accept a loved one’s death while he or she is still alive may leave the mourner feeling that the dying patient has been abandoned. But please don’t think this – in fact expecting the loss can make the attachment to the dying person stronger.